Police chiefs have condemned a banned flyer advertising knives and guns in Sheffield, saying residents were ‘right to be horrified’.
Officers added that it was ‘disappointing’ a local business should seek to ‘capitalise on an issue causing so much harm and distress to our city’.
The outlawed advert, which was delivered to around 1,000 homes in the city during April, featured photos of weapons including a ‘Predator’ knife, a ‘long reach machete’ and ‘sniper rifle’.
The flyer produced for Atlas Arms in Hillsborough was this week banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which found it had breached regulations.
The watchdog described the advert’s distribution as ‘irresponsible’ and likely to cause offence, especially given concerns about rising levels of violent crime.
Detective Superintendent Una Jennings, of South Yorkshire Police, today spoke out against the banned flyer.
She said: “Local residents are absolutely right to be horrified by this poster which has been issued through the doors of residents directly affected by knife crime in their area.
“For a local business to capitalise on an issue which is causing so much harm and distress to our city is wholly disappointing and irresponsible.
“South Yorkshire Police will support responsible traders and work with them but for those who are acting irresponsibly, we must take a different view.
“Knife crime is a scourge on our city, it affects us all and can only be addressed by a city working together to protect our young people, not equipping them with the tools to harm each other.”
Chief Superintendent Stuart Barton, district commander for Sheffield, echoed her comments.
He said: “In the world that we live in, and with what we are trying to do with knife crime we don't want to see adverts like this.
"If people want to buy firearms or weapons for whatever reason they can do but we don't need to be promoting it.
"I am sure most parents and families of those affected by knife crime would agree with me."
Atlas Arms, which had voluntarily pulled the adverts following the initial backlash in April, declined to comment.
Knife crime campaigners in Sheffield earlier this year launched a petition demanding stricter laws on the public display of knives for sale after speaking of their horror at seeing ‘military-style’ knives on public display at Meadowhall.
The display has since been removed, with the petition’s founders praising the retailer for responding to public concerns.